Energy shares are down as the last hour of the regular session begins, and crude futures close below $97 a barrel. Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery finished down 0.5% to $96.91 a barrel. In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 0.1% to $38.47. The United States Natural Gas ETF ( UNG ) is down 2.97% at $10.79. Before the market opened, the government reported that new home construction fell 10.6% in April to an annual rate of 523,000, while permits declined 4.0%. Housing starts in March were revised up to 585,000 from an original reading of 549,000, according to Commerce Department data. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected housing starts in April to climb to an annual rate of 575,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. In late-session energy news, BP plc ( BP ) ADRs are higher even as Reuters reports the British oil major's move to get a toehold in the oilfields on Russia's Arctic shelf via a deal with state-run Rosneft collapsed. The deal between the two collapsed as BP wasn't able to placate partners in its current Russian venture TNK-BP.
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